Also on my GoodReads…
“We stood like man and woman on the opposite sides of a wall built by the hatred of those warring men who’d long ago died, but whose legacy of terror still reigned.”
Disclaimers: I received an ARC of this from the author in return for an honest review. MINOR unmarked spoilers ahead. Nothing to spoil the plot though
Synopsis: Developing Minds: An American Ghost Story follows a group of recent college graduates who struggle with feelings of alienation and their addictions as they try to survive a year of teaching at two dysfunctional Miami public schools.
A poetic and insightful coming-of-age novel, Developing Minds is centered on 24-year-old Luke Entelechy, an aspiring writer who sees his creative output suffer when he begins teaching at one of Miami’s most challenging middle schools. As the year progresses, however, Luke begins to relate to the neglect and abuse his students suffer, and is faced with a “haunting” decision: continue to let his dark past destroy him, or rise above the struggle to realize his potential as an artist and a “real” human being.
Equal parts disturbing and humorous, Developing Minds offers a brutally honest look at the American public school system and the extreme measures many teachers take to cope with working in it.
Luke- He was very insightful and as a new teacher handled his classroom well, considering the circumstances. Outside of school, he’s still a brave intellectual man. He relates to his students and his friends on emotional levels.
Billy- His character frustrated the eff out of me a lot. Granted, I think he was smart and knew how to make good life decisions. With that being said…he refused to do so. One second he’s “oh my god I’m done doing blah” and the next he’s doing exactly what he said he was done with. His poor choices lead me to dislike him. On to the next part; He’s gay. Proudly too, so I mean *cheers to you* I don’t mind, flaunt that ish, and he did, definitely did just outside of school. So he was admirable for that because he seemed comfortable in his own skin and that’s a great quality to have. (ALSO, his poor car!!!!)
Margo, aka Liberty- That woman is nuts, like down to the ground
off her rocker. She’s hysterical which is the only thing that makes me like her. She brings Billy into drama and bs but she knows how to be fun.
Wolo- I think it’s interesting how every day at lunch, Wolo is lighting incense. It just cracks me up. He was always a decent friend to Luke, he told him straight up what he thought and was always real. Comical for sure. I would have loved to see him lose it in person though, man!
The character development was out of this world impressive. You really gained knowledge into their lives and connected to the MC’s. Even the smaller characters had massive personalities. The way LaPoma showed each as a person and created them into something unimaginable was its own kind of art.
Overall Opinion: I absolutely loved it. The cover is beautiful, I was so excited when I first opened it! The sweet, sweet paradise. Every direction his characters go, the author paints the locations perfectly. Key West was breathtaking in itself. Every ounce of description and detail is perfect. He never overdoes it which can be easy to do. The kids act out but tend to be hilarious. LaPoma portrays humor gracefully, it is genuinely funny and doesn’t seem forced whatsoever.
Thank you so very much Jonathan LaPoma for sending me a copy of this and for welcoming me in the trip to Paradise. It surely was an experience and I enjoyed it greatly. I plan on following up on any future published books, I’d love to read them.
Now for my followers, you guys should definitely check out LaPoma’s novels: Understanding the Alacran and Developing Minds An American Ghost Story. They are well worth reading!
Short Girl Out, Signed;